25 November 2006
Show day, Auckland.
I ended up not getting to bed till 5am last night, so it was all I could do make the 2pm shuttle to the venue. On walking into the production office I saw to my great surprise a wily Belgian by name of Hedwig de Meyer. Hedwig owns a company called StageCo., which revolutionised outdoor stage building in the early 90s. Prior to this time, stages had largely consisted of piles of scaffolding with a roof perched on top. Hedwig introduced the concept of building tall, thin, vertical towers, weighted with large water tanks. The towers can then support a structure of practically any shape, rather than the proscenium format. Look at any ambitious outdoor stage show since the mid-90s and youll see hiding away the tall thin trusses now know as Hedwig Towers. Often they are disguised (if you undressed the PopMart arch youd find them beneath the yellow outer shell), but thats generally whats holding everything up.
I was delighted to see Hedwig himself, given the discussion about the future of big rock shows which has been in the background of this tour. I was able to pick his brain about structures, shapes and ideas, most of which hed already thought about, if not actually built, at some point in history. It was very useful and some of todays conversation will no doubt be recycled into a stage at some point in the far distant future.
Being the second night, the band wanted to shake things up a little, so made some set list changes. Bad was placed in the heart of the show which was a treat, preceded by a two-handed acoustic version of Walk On from Bono and Edge which was fan-bloody-tastic. Then, having gained sufficient confidence yesterday, One Tree Hill closed the evening. It was a great show so I really hope U2 make it make it back here before 2019.